Thursday, March 5, 2015

At the foot of the Cross of Christ

Mark 15:27-39
And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him. 
When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

Lord Jesus,
someone asked me recently:
Where do we, the church, find our unity?
Is it in our doctrinal statements?
Is it in our traditions?
Is it in our worship practices?

Where does your church find her unity?
At the foot of Your cross, O Christ.
There all divisions cease.
All wrangling --
over words, policies, doctrines,
traditions, statements, definitions --
comes to an end.

There at the foot of your cross, O Christ,
we find
equal footing,
equal kneeling,
equal prostrating before God
in humble confession,
in deep sorrow,
in need of transforming grace.

There at the foot of your cross, O Christ.
We are
united in our need
to be forgiven and to forgive,
to be humbled and to be self-giving,
to be compassionate and to be grateful.

How does the church stand united
when we are so divided?
We humble ourselves at the foot of your cross, O Christ.
For at the foot of the cross:
"There is no longer Jew or Greek,
there is no longer slave or free,
there is no longer male and female;
for all are one in Christ Jesus." -- Galatians 3:28

For at the foot of Your Cross, O Christ,
even the Roman guard, 
the centurion was compelled to confess:
"Truly this man was God’s Son!"

That is what unites us:
Your cross, O Christ,
gracefully Your cross.

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